Favorite

The Observer Feb. 17 

After a decade in the news biz, The Observer figured we’d pretty much peaked when it came to influencing public opinion. Then the Nielsen people called. Ten bucks they said they’d pay us in exchange for keeping a diary for one week of anything that graced an Observatory TV set for more than five minutes. Instantly we imagined singlehandedly steering untold amounts of advertiser support away from Maury Povich into the poor but deserving lap of … oh, who are we kidding? “Desperate Housewives” hurts for nothing. The instructions said not to change our usual habits, but really, how could we not, with every choice we made destined to stand in for the viewing preferences of vast millions? Should we lie and list all those PBS shows we’d like to think we’d be watching, if our sad little rabbit-ear antenna could pick up the signal? Or was it enough simply to note that while our household of two may own three TVs, none is hooked up to cable or satellite, that we are noble enough to resist the prevailing cultural paradigm, and survive only on a subsistence diet of the major networks and the WB? In the end, we let all the graph-paper hours marked “TV set OFF” speak for themselves, although we did write in the comments section that we’d watch more local TV news if they’d shut up about the damn weather. Dare we dream? It’s been longer than we’d care to admit since The Observer last shared a Valentine’s Day with a significant companion. This year, however, we’d been working on a main squeeze for a while and were hoping for a little something special. You know, jewelry. Lingerie. At least a good dinner. Instead, we woke to find a card tucked underneath our car’s windshield wiper. A Hallmark card that used someone else’s words to express what Squeeze could (would?) not himself. Maybe we’re being too harsh. We’re glad to know someone’s happy that we exist, really. But the card, in someone else’s words, left us feeling as romantic as Sister Agnes and as sexy as her No-Nonsense pantyhose. Then again, considering that last year the only billet doux tucked under our windshield was from the LRPD, we’re still ahead. Royce Griffin’s name is not a household word around Little Rock, but he left a permanent mark on our city and state. He created the attorney general’s antitrust division under Bill Clinton and successfully stopped dairy price-fixing on milk sold to public schools. More recently, his specialty in securities fraud was brought to bear on dodgy research prepared by analysts too cozy with investment banks. He was a champion for the consumer, always. That’s for the record books. It doesn’t make us cry when we think about it. Here’s what does. Royce wrote a paper on the Abominable Snowman straight out of his head on the plane he took back to Harvard at the completion of the paid sabbatical he won to write it. He used his boat and irresistible logic to convince a pal one steamy day in July that a fishing trip to Lonoke was just the ticket, thus assuring his friend’s arrival at a surprise birthday party at a country cabin. He could go on and on about his work with one of the federal bench’s least stellar judges, who relied on hand signals from his clerks to rule and once asked a defendant, “How do you feel?” rather than how he would plead. “I feel guilty, your honor!” said the hapless defendant. Royce rescued the mother of our dog and our dog’s eight siblings and drove them into town in his Saab to show them off. You’ve got to take one of these dogs, he said. We did. What choice did we have? Apparently forgetting that he hadn’t had any exercise in 30 years, Royce convinced himself he could tackle the ski slopes in Colorado. Up to his knees in powder on “Cinch” or “Easy Way” or some similarly named escape route, he threw in the towel and sent The Observer off to hail the ski patrol. In small talk down the mountain, the ski bum asked Royce what he did for a living. Royce told him he was the securities commissioner for the state of Colorado. His rescuer exclaimed, Wow! Does that mean you have the keys to all the big buildings in Denver? How varied is the human species. Sometimes, genes combine to make an unforgettable man. That was Royce.
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • New episode of Rock the Culture: "Juice In Your Own Life"

    In this week’s episode, Charles and Antwan provide perspective and conversation on the Little Rock Mayoral Election and State Board of Education’s consideration of the anticipated request to waive the Fair Teacher Dismissal Act. In addition, Charles and Antwan discuss all things happening in the Little Rock School District with Superintendent Michael Poore.
    • Dec 11, 2018
  • End of the week headlines and your open line

    Alderman candidate misses chance to cast deciding vote for himself in runoff election; Dem-Gaz to phase out print delivery in El Dorado, Camden and Magnolia; Rapert threatens UA Fort Smith over 'Drag Queen Story Time' event; The Van seeks to raise $35,000 in three weeks for new warehouse facility in South Little Rock.
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • New episode of Out in Arkansas: "Boy Erased"

    Out in Arkansas’s hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen talk about all the things because all the things are LGBTQ things. This week T & A talk about “Boy Erased” and their own emotions during and after the movie. Thank you for listening! #outinarkansas #beinggayinthesouth #dontbeadouche #beadecentperson
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • On Walmart and state money

    No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • On shitholes

    The Observer is at home today in our kitty cat socks, weathering a combination sick day and snow day. Way down in Stifft Station, we live at the top of a hill that slopes away in all directions. That's good in a flood, but piss poor other than for sledding during snow and ice, especially when you only have access to a two-wheel drive car.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The job

    The Observer and Mr. Photographer were headed across town on our way to another press conference the other day when we got to talking about The Job. Newspaperin'.
    • Mar 15, 2018

Latest in The Observer

  • Ramblin' Jack

    The Observer, like a lot of folks, is drawn to the real places: barbecue joints and honky-tonks, seedy truck stops and greasy little diners where the waitresses and clerks still call you "Hun," used bookstores that have been there since Faulkner was still drinking mint juleps, bait shops hung with dusty-eyed bass pulled up from the deep when Eisenhower was in the White House.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Phillips

    After many years of faithful service, it seems as if the transmission in Black Phillip — our trusty 2006 Honda CRV — is in the process of giving up the ghost.
    • Dec 6, 2018
  • Long December

    Thanksgiving in the rearview, with all the leftovers either consumed or thrown out to the dogs and/or opportunistic raccoons, we slide, inexorably, into December.
    • Nov 29, 2018
  • More »

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation